We're now six weeks into Gotham's 22-episode first season run, and in that time audiences have learned a great deal about the shady political dealings that will soon lead to the creation of the gargantuan Arkham Asylum that longtime Batman fans know all too well. That said, what's been revealed so far is merely the tip of the iceberg, according to Gotham creator Bruno Heller.
In a new video Heller expands on his plans for the development of Arkham within the show's narrative, and how its genesis will be fully intertwined with the rise of the Gotham City so hopelessly corrupt that it needs a masked vigilante to do what the police force can't. The full (albeit short) clip is embedded above.
The major takeaway from the video is Heller's plans to answer questions that have dogged fans of the Batman universe for decades. Just why is Arkham Asylum so easy to escape from? What role does Arkham's mismanagement play in the seemingly steady stream of dangerously psychotic criminals infesting Gotham's streets? Heller doesn't go into any more detail (you'll have to go along for the ride to find out), however, he does end things by promising that the asylum's origin will play a pivotal factor in Gotham's descent.
The above questions concerning Arkham Asylum's operations have never really been explored in-depth on either the big or small screens, and will certainly make an interesting subplot for Gotham's overall evolution. One wonders whether Arkham's progress will serve as a catalyst for the introduction of the villain most closely identified with the building: The Joker. No one has spent more time in Arkham's padded cells than Gotham's resident killer clown, and no one has spent more time executing elaborate escapes from the place, either.
Of course, The Joker isn't the only prominent Gotham villain that is heavily tied to Arkham. Mr. J's sidekick Harley Quinn - first introduced in the beloved 90's cartoon Batman: The Animated Series - began her existence as Arkham psychiatrist Dr. Harleen Quinzel, before falling for her future boss' enigmatic charisma.
As one of the most popular characters in the Batman universe to be created outside of the comics, it seems fitting that her introduction be tied to Arkham's rebirth. The facility will likely need to add new staff members to accommodate the increased patient load - beginning with Dr. Leslie Thompkins (Morena Baccarin) - and hotshot med school graduate Harleen Quinzel would be a perfect candidate for the job.
Then again, that all depends on whether the growing fan theory that Oswald Cobblepot (the seeming future Penguin) is in fact The Joker doesn't come to pass. Admittedly, the theory is far fetched, but in its defense, Cobblepot and The Joker do bear quite a few similarities. They're both thin and wiry; both constantly sport maniacal grins; both violent psychopaths. While the whole Penguin/Joker connection remains highly unlikely, it would certainly be an interesting path to take, if Gotham's producers chose to do so.
Whatever happens, Heller will seemingly make sure that Arkham Asylum plays a major role in the outcome.
Gotham airs Mondays at 8pm on FOX.